Do Not Get a Mammogram
My mom and my sister-in-law have had breast cancer. My cousin and second cousin died from breast cancer. So why would I say, "do not get a mammogram?" It's not that I am in denial. I just think there are safer and better ways to detect breast cancer in its early stages.
Instead of a mammogram, I get a yearly thermogram. Rather than exposing myself to an x-ray, my picture is generated by measuring heat. Depending on what studies and reviews you read, you will find that some say a mammogram is better and the others will say a thermogram is better. To me, it just does not seem logical to expose myself to an x-ray to detect cancer.
The main downside to a thermogram is that is does not meet the "standard of care" in the United States (I am told in Canada it does) and therefore insurance does not cover it. The first year is rather costly, as you have to have a baseline set of images done and then have another set done in three months. Depending on the practitioner the cost for the first year can be over $300. My yearly follow-up costs $100, and while insurance does not cover that either, I can use FSA money for it.
A thermogram is taken by a certified technician and then is read and reported on by doctors. I get three copies of my report; I keep one, one goes to my general practitioner, and one goes to my nurse practitioner.
I have been doing this for about five years now. Before that, I did get mammograms. And because of the size of my breasts, the mammograms always showed something suspicious. Then I would either have to wait six months and get yet another mammogram or, when I was feeling panicked, I would insist on an ultra-sound immediately. It was emotionally draining to go through this process.
When I get my thermogram reports, in addition to reading the doctor's comments, I can see for myself that the image is basically the same as the last time - a change in heat can indicate the presence of cancer which would change the image.
I suggest you read some of the research and make your own decision. I just know for me, this is the best decision. Either way, take care of yourself!